Adrian Walker’s an astute observer of the Massachusetts political scene, but I think he’s off-target when he writes of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, “Never doubt the ability of the insiders to enforce party unity”. It may be nearly a century later, but this is still the same Democratic Party of which humorist Will Rogers said, “I am not a member of any organized party; I am a Democrat”. Furthermore this is Massachusetts, where half the town lines exist because of a 300 year old theological dispute…and some folks still hold a grudge about it.
Elizabeth Warren got almost 96% of the delegate votes at Saturday’s state Democratic Convention. By securing such a supermajority, Warren avoids having to go through a potentially divisive Democratic primary in September. Usually it’s impossible to get 96% of Massachusetts Democrats to agree (for example) that the sun came up this morning.
Now, that degree of unanimity may reflect nothing more than 1) an intense desire to retake the Senate seat Ted Kennedy filled for 47 years, and 2) the fact that Warren’s sole remaining opponent, Marisa DeFranco, has a platform that makes Warren look like a centrist corporate sellout by comparison.
On the other hand, it may be a signal that the party regulars—most prominently Boston Mayor Tom Menino, but including many of the party’s leaders in the “mill towns” (e.g., Lowell, Worcester, Fall River)—are coming to the conclusion that Warren’s steadfast support for Democratic ideals are more important than the greater degree of personal comfort they may feel with “good guy” Scott Brown.
If so, that’s good news for Warren and her campaign. She’s going to need both a strong turnout and a large majority from those cities (which together account for nearly 1/3 of the commonwealth’s residents) to defeat Brown at the polls in November.